Carabassa V., Ortiz O., Alcañiz J.M. (2019) RESTOQUARRY: Indicators for self-evaluation of ecological restoration in open-pit mines. Ecological Indicators. 102: 437-445.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.03.001
Several methods and criteria to evaluate and assess quarry restoration are available in the scientific literature, but they are very specialized and time consuming. Furthermore, there is a lack of evaluation tools appropriate for technicians involved in these types of activities, such as quarry engineers, restoration managers and quality control supervisors in public administration. The work presented attempts to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and practical needs by proposing a simplified methodology (RESTOQUARRY protocol), which enables the non-scientific public to evaluate restored areas. This procedure focused on five groups of parameters for zone (homogeneous portions within the whole restored area) evaluation: geotechnical risk, drainage network, erosion and physical degradation, soil quality and vegetation status and functionality. Moreover, three groups of parameters are proposed for area (whole restoration) evaluation: landscape integration, ecological connectivity and fauna, and anthropic impacts. This protocol has been tested in 55 open-pit mines located throughout Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula), covering a wide range of Mediterranean climatic conditions and geological substrates. Results indicate that the proposed methodology is suitable for detecting critical parameters that can determine the success of the restoration. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
Padró J.-C., Carabassa V., Balagué J., Brotons L., Alcañiz J.M., Pons X. (2019) Monitoring opencast mine restorations using Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) imagery. Science of the Total Environment. 657: 1602-1614.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.156
Open-pit mine is still an unavoidable activity but can become unsustainable without the restoration of degraded sites. Monitoring the restoration after extractive activities is a legal requirement for mine companies and public administrations in many countries, involving financial provisions for environmental liabilities. The objective of this contribution is to present a rigorous, low-cost and easy-to-use application of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for supporting opencast mining and restoration monitoring, complementing the inspections with very high (
Carabassa V., Ortiz O., Alcañiz J.M. (2018) Sewage sludge as an organic amendment for quarry restoration: Effects on soil and vegetation. Land Degradation and Development. 29: 2568-2574.EnllaçDoi: 10.1002/ldr.3071
Quarry restoration in Mediterranean environments usually needs organic amendments to improve the substrates used for technosol construction. Digested sewage sludges from municipal wastewater treatment plants are rich in organic matter, N, and P and constitute an available and economically interesting alternative for substrate amendment. However, their pollutant burden and labile organic matter content involve an environmental risk that must be controlled. Moreover, ecological succession in restored areas can be influenced by the use of sludge and should be assessed. To minimize these risks, a new sewage sludge dose criterion relating to its labile organic matter and heavy metal content has been established. Sewage sludge doses currently range between 10 and 50 Mg ha−1. In order to verify the suitability of this dose criterion, 16 areas rehabilitated using sewage sludge located in limestone quarries in a Mediterranean climate in Catalonia (NE Spain) have been assessed. These evaluations focused on physicochemical properties of rehabilitated soils, land degradation processes, and ecological succession. In the short term, 6 months after sludge application, an increment of organic matter content in the restored soils was observed, without significant increases in electrical conductivity or heavy metals content, and with a dense plant cover that contributes to effective soil erosion control. Two years after, ruderal plants were still present but later successional species colonized the restored zones in different degrees. These results suggest that sewage sludge, used as a soil amendment according to the proposed methodology, can safely improve technosol quality without constraints that compromise ecological succession. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Raya-Moreno I., Cañizares R., Domene X., Carabassa V., Alcañiz J.M. (2017) Comparing current chemical methods to assess biochar organic carbon in a Mediterranean agricultural soil amended with two different biochars. Science of the Total Environment. 598: 604-618.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.168
Several methods have been proposed to quantify biochar C recalcitrance but their suitability is questionable. The aims of this work are: i) to compare the suitability of thermal or chemical oxidation and acid hydrolysis methods to quantify biochar C-pool in a biochar-amended soil, and ii) to calculate the biochar content in the soil through a mass balance derived from the obtained data. Two contrasted biochars from pine wood and corn cob remains were incorporated at a rate of 5 Mg C ha− 1 to a sandy loam vineyard soil with neutral pH and low organic carbon content, in field conditions. The analytical methods used to determine the oxidability and hydrolyzation of soil and biochar-C were: i) weight loss-on-ignition (LOI) at three temperatures (375 °C, 550 °C and 950 °C) for the assessment of organic matter, and ii) dry-combustion (TOC), strong (sO) and mild (mO) acid potassium dichromate oxidations, acid hydrolysis (AH) and peroxide oxidation (PO) for the assessment of organic C-pools. mO mainly estimated the easy oxidisable organic fraction of soil. Resistant organic carbon (ROC), estimated as non-hydrolysable organic carbon by AH and as non-oxidisable by mO, led to similar values in control soil (5 g C kg− 1 soil), whereas different ROC values were obtained in soils amended with biochar (6–12 g C kg− 1 soil). The suitability of these different methods as proxies to quantify biochar C was verified through a mass balance observing differences between them. PO removes well native soil organic matter, but also attacks partially biochar's fraction, so an underestimation exists. However, mO leaves intact biochar in the amended soil. Summarising, LOI, TOC and mO were the best proxies for biochar-C quantification, especially the last one, somewhat clarifying the debate on this topic. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
Carabassa V., Serra E., Ortiz O., Alcañiz J.M. (2010) Sewage sludge application protocol for quarry restoration (Catalonia). Ecological Restoration. 28: 420-422.EnllaçDoi: 10.3368/er.28.4.420
[No abstract available]
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